The Heart of It

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 14 Comments

Corazon by Mark Carter

Melissa reflects on the legacy of separation and the ways in which we cope

Some week’s back, the cover of The New York Times had a picture of two young boys tearfully clinging to their father who was returning to one war zone or another after a leave. The look of panic and pain on the younger boy’s face haunts me.

I have a similar photograph from 70 years ago on the day my grandfather left to go to war. In the photograph my eight-year-old father appears more stoic than the boys in the NY Times but I know from letters and first hand reports that the one photograph of that day does not tell the whole story.

I will always wonder if the father in The New York Times photograph comes home. I know my grandfather didn’t and that legacy of separation has been passed down in my family. This is the story of countless families throughout history, changed by the legacy of loss at the hand of war, economics, borders, political posturing and empire building. Read more

What of Faith?

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Travel | 11 Comments

Photo by Pattie Traynor

Melissa Howden explores the nature of faith and its attraction, hopes and painted prayers

I’ve got a thing for Faith – Faith, as in the word with the Latin root of Fidere meaning “to trust”. And then there is Faith’s friend Belief, which used to mean, “Trust in God”. For the longest time Faith was about a certain kind of loyalty or belief in a person. Somewhere along the line Faith took on the more religious connotation and Belief came to be understood as “mental acceptance of something as true.” Faith/Belief, the two together interest me. Not as a byproduct of organized religion but simply as something I rely on. Ironically I get particularly obsessed with Faith when it seems to be in short supply in my own life.

When I slip into a space of doubt I look to the faith of others. As a natural born traveler, I’ve had the good fortune to witness faith globally. Encountering someone in an act of private devotion always catches me short of breath and makes me cry. During these times I’ve started to recognize the nature of faith as active, action being critical to faith. At its core, faith is a verb, not a noun.
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Oh God!

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Miscellaneous | 9 Comments

Mixed media on canvas by Gregory Vorbe

Mixed media on canvas by Gregory Vorbe

From miracles to manipulation, nature to nurture, Carine Fabius ponders the big questions.

God has been on my mind lately, but that’s not unusual; God is often on my mind. Maybe I’ve been thinking about God even more because I am from Haiti, and the subject always comes up after a great disaster. You’ve got the typical questions about How can God do this to a people already so down on their luck? And then, there they are, those unlucky Haitians themselves, publicly thanking God for saving their lives (those not crushed to death, anyway). Something bad happens, blame God. Something good happens, thank God! So, who is this entity, that seems to arbitrarily bestow luck on some and tragedy on others? Most likely, no God.

I am not an atheist, but this Judeo-Christian God, who sits in judgment of our tiniest transgressions and promises to deliver eternal damnation if we don’t behave seems downright petty. So, here’s my (still-developing) take on God: Read more